Denmon helps Missouri edge OklahomaFeb 7, 2012 - 7:19 AM Norman, OK (Sports Network) - Marcus Denmon made four three-pointers en route to 25 points, as the fourth-ranked Missouri Tigers snuck past the Oklahoma Sooners, 71-68.
Ricardo Ratliffe added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (22-2, 9-2 Big 12), who have won four in a row since a loss to Oklahoma State on January 25. Michael Dixon donated 13 points.
Steven Pledger ended with 22 points and five boards for the Sooners (13-10, 3-8), who have dropped three straight. Sam Grooms tallied 17 points and 10 assists.
"It's not hard at all to understand the fact that in basketball you have tomorrow, but by the same token, you want to win at this point in time, right now," Grooms said. "We just have certain plays and certain mishaps on the court that don't allow us to do that right now. Like Coach said, when we're ready to do it, we'll do it. It's up to us at the end of the day."
Trailing by eight, 66-58, with under 4 1/2 minutes to play, Carl Blair and Pledger made back-to-back three-pointers to spark an 8-2 spurt. Oklahoma had the ball following Pledger's turnover and Dixon's missed three-pointer.
Grooms made 1-of-2 from the line to cut the gap to three. Denmon's turnover led to Pledger's 1-of-2 effort from the charity stripe, which cut the gap to 68-66 with 1:29 remaining.
Kim English made a three-pointer from the corner, stopping the surge and giving the Tigers a 71-66 lead.
But Andrew Fitzgerald made two free throws at the other end to make it a three-point game with 41.6 seconds to go. Dixon followed with a missed jumper at the opposite end.
Oklahoma dribbled the ball to halfcourt before calling a timeout with 3.9 ticks left on the clock. Romero Osby was intentionally fouled and missed both foul shots. The second shot, which was missed on purpose, hit off the backboard and was tapped to Pledger beyond the three-point line. His shot was off the mark as time expired.
"This was a good road win for us," Missouri head coach Frank Haith said. "It wasn't our best basketball, but on the road in the Big 12 it's not always going to be pretty and not easy. Our guys found a way to rip one out on the road, executed when we needed to, and got stops when we needed to. It was a great road win for us."
Down by three, 33-30, with 3:04 to go in the first half, the Tigers scored the final six points of the frame. Ratliffe bookended the burst with a pair of layups to make it 36-33 at the break.
Denmon started the second half with a three-pointer and three foul shots, making it 42-33.
But the Sooners stayed within striking distance to set up the tight finish.
Oklahoma holds a 112-97 lead in the all-time series. Missouri has won nine of the last 13 meetings, including an 87-49 victory earlier this season in Columbia...The Tigers shot 56.3 percent from the field...Oklahoma turned the ball over 16 times...Fitzgerald ended with 12 points.
- MISSOURI: 71
Feb 6 9:04 PM
- MISSOURI: 36
Feb 6 7:45 PM
- MISSOURI: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Feb 6 7:04 PM
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